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The House Mondavi


I just finished reading Julia Flynn Siler’s The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty.  The book is a compelling, well researched, narrative of how the Mondavi family revolutionized the American wine industry.

It chronicles the family’s journey from their 1906 arrival at Ellis Island through their dynastic expansion in the Napa Valley ultimately ending with the destruction of their billion dollar empire in a corporate boardroom.  The Mondavi story is one replete with tales of infighting, banishment, greed, estrangement, and even alleged incest yet, ultimately, it is largess and philanthropy that lead to the demise of Robert Mondavi’s vision of building a family legacy.

The book brings to light the shortcomings of a business in which there is no formal succession plan.  The battle to balance quality with quantity, family with friendship and vision with perception.  It exposes the difficulty in trying to keep control of a closely held corporation and, when that control is lost, how it can never be regained.

The Mondavi family story has all the makings of a great Shakespearian tragedy with one great difference… it is a real story about real people.  It’s a story you should read for yourself.

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~ by Marc Hedish on January 15, 2010.

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